Angry parents crowded a school board meeting Mississippi Monday night to protest the ban on public prayer in their school, reports the Neshoba Democrat.
Neshoba County, Mississippi, school board meetings usually consist of few, if any, guests who are not on the board; however, the last meeting saw a crowd of more than 35 parents who wanted to let president Davis Fulton know that they support prayer in local schools.
"We know we need a new school building, we want prayer back in the schools," one person said, after the board told the large group that they weren’t on the agenda to speak.
After the school board ruled earlier that prayer was no longer allowed over school intercoms, the swarm of displeased parents voiced their dissent.
"No one on this board voted to remove prayer," board member Shan Winstead said.
Several organizations in the area had objected to the practice, citing a federal law, so the school board decided to accommodate the subsequent federal order.
In fact, a judge recently fined nearby Rankin School District in Flowood, Mississippi, $7,500 after one of its schools had a pastor pray at an honors assembly, in violation of a previous order, according to AL.com. If the school repeats the act, they will be fined $10,000.
Many schools have recently banned public prayer, and it has turned into an inflammatory issue for many zealous parents, especially in Mississippi.
After what happened in Rankin, the Neshoba school board decided not to fight the federal request, even though the members support school prayer, noted the Neshoba Democrat.
"Prayer can be student led before school,” Windstead mentioned. “I as a parent have to encourage my child to take the lead."
Superintendent Tommy Dearing elaborated on a student work-around to the ban.
"We are not allowed to have prayer over the intercom or that is faculty led, but we encourage our students to organize morning prayers and devotionals," Dearing said. "We encourage our students to take the lead on this."
Rev. Chester Carlisle of Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia ended the gathering in prayer, telling parents, "Let's do what we have been talking about."
He prayed for wisdom and direction for the board and concluded by recommending that parents to "teach their children."